Wheelhouse Weekly – September 24, 2013

September 24th 2013


– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 17 . . . Number 39 . . . Sept. 24, 2013


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the archives section.


MM&P officials have been interviewed by national and regional publications, including USA TODAY, the LA Times and the Baltimore Sun, as part of the union’s efforts to educate the public about the essential role of the American Merchant Marine in America’s economy and national defense. The most recent article, posted online by USA TODAY on Sept. 21, was written by journalist Greg Toppo, who visited MM&P in Linthicum Heights on two occasions and participated with MM&P members in MITAGS simulation exercises and small arms training courses. His article is entitled, “There’s ‘pirate activity in your area’: What do you do?”

The piece takes its cue from the imminent release of the blockbuster film about the hijacking of the MAERSK ALABAMA and its crew, including MM&P members Captain Richard Phillips, Chief Mate Shane Murphy, Second Mate Ken Quinn and Third Mate Colin Wright. “What few may know,” the journalist writes, “is that Phillips and his crew learned how to repel the attack here at [MITAGS]… a state-of-the-art training facility just south of Baltimore. USA TODAY got exclusive access to the facility, where crews from around the world train, sometimes around the clock.”

MM&P President Don Marcus is quoted in the article, as is MM&P member Captain James Staples. “When I first started going to sea, the main thing we worried about in terms of security was stowaways and theft,” says Staples, who was a classmate of Phillips at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “The MAERSK ALABAMA incident changed that,” Staples says. The attack “was a whole new concept” that crews had little experience with: They didn’t want to steal cargo or strip the ship of fittings, he says. “They wanted… to hold Phillips for money. And when they knew they had an American ship, they thought they’d hit the jackpot.”

“This movie couldn’t be any more timely because right now our Merchant Marine is facing a crisis,” says MM&P President Don Marcus. “We seem to have lost the support of the Administration. We seem to have dropped off the radar. This movie can highlight the dedication of seafarers, of the men and women who sail in the U.S. Merchant Marine and the hazards they face. For us it’s an opportunity to highlight the critical need for the Merchant Marine and the critical service we provide to the nation.” To read the article, go to:


An oil spill or other catastrophe threatens to result from the chaotic conditions on the Columbia River, where an inexperienced towboat and tugboat operator is making a frenetic attempt to capitalize on the seven-month old labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and two Japanese-owned grain terminals. Raising the alarm are MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU). 

Members of MM&P and the IBU are honoring the picket lines of the ILWU workers, who have been locked out of their jobs at the Columbia Grain terminal in Portland and the United Grain Terminal in Vancouver since February. To move the grain in the midst of the lock-out, terminal owners Marubeni Corp. and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. have called in a fly-by-night tug and towboat operator using unqualified tugboat personnel with no prior experience on the Columbia.

“The safety of commerce on the Columbia River is in jeopardy,” says MM&P President Don Marcus. “An unproven towboat operator is working the locked-out terminals. There is no doubt that an environmental catastrophe could take place at any time.” IBU President Alan Cote reports that accidents “are occurring with regularity.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard is turning a blind eye. “The Coast Guard is charged by law with enforcing federal marine regulations, but numerous notifications of dangerous conditions have been ignored,” Cote says. Federal regulations require the Coast Guard to remain neutral in labor disputes, but “failing to investigate known violations and accidents on the river for the benefit of Marubeni and Mitsui and to the detriment of American workers and the safety of the Columbia River, is, in fact, taking sides,” he says. Catastrophic damage to the ecology of the Columbia River is a real possibility in this situation, the unions say, adding, “We are compelled to bring this situation to the attention of the general public.”

“We urge all members of our community to demand safe vessel operations on the Columbia River and to require that the parties to this dispute sit down and resolve their differences so that our region may prosper,” they said.


One of the most critical issues facing America’s ability to provide assured support to our troops overseas is the looming funding shortfall for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) in Fiscal Year 2014 due to a $12 million carry-over funding anomaly. Unless the $12 million anomaly is fixed and MSP is fully funded, U.S.-flag ships will be forced out of MSP, which will weaken our nation’s commercial sealift capability, send American maritime jobs overseas and cost the taxpayer significantly more because the federal government will have to step in to support American troops by providing commercial sealift capability itself.

MSP, which is congressionally authorized at $186 million per year, provides the Defense Department (DOD) with access to commercial assets–U.S.-flag vessels, U.S. mariners and global logistics networks–to support U.S. government sealift requirements. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the vessels enrolled in MSP carried 95 percent of DOD waterborne cargoes transported to the region. MSP participant carriers continue to provide essential direct support to American troops engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Working with the U.S. Transportation Command within the Department of Defense, the MSP carriers have developed and implemented ocean and intermodal solutions via the Pakistan Ground Lines of Communication, the Northern Distribution Network and sea-air multimodal combination logistics.

Without assured access to the vessels, crews and related intermodal assets that MSP provides, DOD would have had significant difficulty moving goods and supplies to our troops and would have incurred substantially more cost. The ability to access these commercial assets saves DOD a significant amount of money each year. If the U.S. government were to try to replicate this program through procuring and building such assets itself, it would cost $65 billion, plus an additional $9 billion annually in operating and maintenance costs. In other words, without access to the U.S.-flag vessels, American mariners and intermodal and logistics networks provided by the commercial maritime industry, DOD would have to acquire, operate, and maintain U.S. government assets and intermodal systems at a significantly higher cost to the American taxpayer.

To prevent this loss in commercial sealift capability, the FY’14 carry-over funding anomaly must be addressed. When Congress adopted its last Continuing Resolution, there was a $12 million surplus in the MSP account that gave Congress the opportunity to appropriate $174 million for FY’13 rather than the authorized $186 million, which artificially set the funding baseline at $174 million rather than $186 million. With the $12 million in funds carried-over into FY’13 plus the newly appropriated $174 million, Congress reaffirmed its support for a fully funded MSP.

There are not, however, any surplus funds remaining in the MSP account to be carried over and the funding baseline in the context of a continuing resolution for FY’14 is set too low to achieve the full funding as called for by the President and as intended by Congress. Consequently, to ensure that the Department of Defense continues to have the U.S.-flag sealift capability it needs, Congress should correct this $12 million carry-over funding anomaly and appropriate the full Congressionally authorized amount of $186 million for FY’14. If it does not, and Congress fails to include the full $186 million for the MSP but simply appropriates the same $174 million as in FY’13, the Maritime Administration has indicated that an initial four U.S.-flag MSP vessels will be removed from the program, sending American jobs overseas and reducing the sealift capability available to the Department of Defense.

This potential funding shortfall is already raising readiness capability concerns within DOD. Commenting specifically on the potential FY’14 funding shortfall for the Maritime Security Program and the resultant loss of U.S.-flag vessels and American mariners, the current commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), Gen. William Fraser, stated in a communication to members of the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee that “USTRANSCOM relies heavily on the significant capabilities the U.S.-flag commercial sealift industry contributes to our nation.”

Fraser warned that the loss of vessels in MSP coupled with “the loss of mariner jobs, access to the related intermodal logistics networks these companies provide and potential loss of competition in certain trade routes may degrade our current support to forces deployed overseas and likely increase transportation costs to the government.”

In the interests of our nation’s economic and military security, and to prevent the loss of militarily useful U.S.-flag commercial vessels and the outsourcing of American maritime jobs, we ask Congress to address this carry-over funding anomaly and to approve full funding for MSP at its congressionally authorized level of $186 million for FY ‘14.


Facing an onslaught of challenges to the programs and policies important to our industry, MM&P, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and a number of our contracted U.S.-flag operators have intensified efforts to bring home the importance of our industry to members of Congress. Working together with U.S.-flag carriers and maritime associations, we are educating members of Congress and their local staff about the importance of our industry, not only to our nation, but to their districts, states and constituents. Today, there are more than 40 maritime advisory committees (MACs) in Congressional districts throughout the country.

On Sept. 3, MM&P, MEBA and the maritime management participants in the MAC program met with Congresswoman Janice Hahn’s (D-Calif.) top staff in her district office in San Pedro, Calif. A variety of maritime issues were discussed, including the Obama administration’s misguided proposal to end the PL 480 Food for Peace Program. All the participants expressed our industry’s appreciation of Hahn’s efforts, which were integral in the defeat of the administration’s proposal and a victory for our industry. Participants also discussed the importance of turning back the all-too-frequent misguided attacks on the Jones Act and the need to achieve full funding for the Maritime Security Program. In her short time in Congress, Hahn has become one of our strongest friends and supporters.

More recently, all the labor and management organizations participating in the MAC program met with Congressman Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.), the Ranking Democrat on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. The subcommittee has primary jurisdiction over funding for the Maritime Security Program, which makes it key to our effort to ensure full MSP funding in fiscal year 2014 as Congress fights to pass a budget, cut federal spending and fund the government.

The continued success of the maritime grassroots MAC program depends on the participation of everyone concerned about the future of the U.S.-flag merchant marine.  If you wish to participate in these grassroots meetings with your Congressman or Congresswoman, please contact headquarters at or Jim Patti at


A Sept. 10 leak in a pipeline used to load molasses onto Matson ships has resulted in a gigantic spill in the waters of Honolulu Harbor. The size of the spill, which has led to mass fish die-offs and extensive damage to protected coral reefs, is estimated at 233,000 gallons. Many boats in Honolulu Harbor are also “dead in the water” because their owners have been afraid to start them up fearing engine damage. The Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are conducting water sampling as part of a joint effort to analyze the effects of the molasses spill. The Hawaii Department of Health has established an incident command system to organize the response.


Nautilus International, the union that represents British, Dutch and Swiss licensed deck officers, has written to International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu to ask that the IMO release the results of Panama’s investigation into the 2009 DANNY F II disaster, in which 44 people died. The ship capsized and sank in bad weather in the Mediterranean Sea on Dec. 17, 2009, 11 nautical miles off the coast of Lebanon. MM&P submitted a paper to the IMO calling for an investigation and report by Panama on the tragedy. Now, almost four years after the accident, Panama has submitted its final report. But in an unusual twist, the report cannot be viewed on the IMO website and there is no word on when it will be released to the public.

“More than 40 seafarers, including the master and ETO, who were Nautilus members, died when the ship sank,” wrote Nautilus General Secretary Mark Dickinson in a Sept. 9 letter to the IMO. “We (and family members) have been deeply disappointed to discover that the report on the disaster cannot be opened or downloaded via the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GSIS) database.”

The Panama-flagged ship, which was built in 1975 as a car carrier, was renamed the DANNY F II in 1994 after being rebuilt as a livestock transporter. It sank while sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Tartarus, Syria, carrying six passengers, 77 crewmembers, 10,224 sheep and 17,932 head of cattle. Captain John M. Milloy is reported to have remained on board when the ship rolled over in the high seas. In 2005, it was reported that DANNY F II had been detained at Adelaide because of defects which included holed bulkheads, defective navigation lights and radio equipment and defective watertight doors.

The International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA), the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and MM&P have joined Nautilus in pressing for the release of the results of the investigation.

“The DANNY F II was a very major casualty with significant loss of life and we have consistently argued the case for a rigorous investigation and thorough report to demonstrate that concerns have been properly addressed and that investigations had assessed technical issues including the potential effects of any alterations to hull or equipment, and the factors affecting the stability of the vessel, the life-saving appliances provided and used, and any difficulties experienced with their use,” Dickinson wrote. “We believe it is essential that the relatives of those who died, and the shipping industry in general, can be given some comfort and reassurance that lessons have been learned to prevent similar disasters in the future.”


The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is seeking applications for membership on the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC). The council advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation via the Maritime Administrator on impediments to the effective use and expansion of America’s Marine Highways; waterways and ports, and their intermodal, road, rail and marine highway connections; shipbuilding capacity; and guidelines for development of a national freight policy from a marine transportation perspective. Nine positions will be filled.

Individuals with experience in one or more of the following sectors of the marine transportation industry are encouraged to apply: ports and terminal operators; shippers; vessel operators; labor and workforce development; academia. Applications should be received on or before Oct. 18. Submit your application by mail, e-mail or facsimile to MarAd-MTSNAC Designated Federal Officer, Room W21-310, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Email: Fax: (202) 366-6988. For more info, contact Richard Lolich, MTSNAC Designated Federal Officer, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W21-310, Washington, DC 20590,, Phone: (202)-366-0704, Fax: 202-366-6988.


MM&P members seeking employment on the eight Watson-class LMSRs awarded to Patriot Contract Services can view a sample resume format on the home page. Completed resumes should be sent to MM&P Gulf Ports Vice President Wayne Farthing as “Point of Contact,”, and to the MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer’s Office,

Crewing for these vessels will begin in the next few weeks and assignments are available. All members and applicants seeking employment are urged to submit their resumes as soon as possible. Members and Applicants, including Second and Third Mates, whose resumes are approved by the company in accordance with Right of Selection provisions of the MOU and who successfully complete the minimum training requirements will be assured of an initial 120-day assignment.

Please contact one of the above-listed officials and Kelly Michielli, MITAGS Admissions Coordinator, at to get the process started.


Although the Shipping Rules/Work Rules ballot that was approved by the MM&P Ballot Committee was correct, the vendor responsible for printing the ballots themselves and for creating an online version of the ballot for electronic voting made what is called “an error of omission.” As a result, the ballot distribution and voting must begin again. The new voting period is 3:00 p.m. EST, Sept. 20, 2013 to 9:00 a.m. EST, Dec. 19, 2013. Rest assured that all expenses of this process will be borne by the vendor.

If you still have the ballot that was mailed to you on Sept. 9, please destroy it. If you have already returned your ballot, it will be destroyed by the balloting agency. If you have already voted your ballot online, the vote will be nullified. We have instructed the vendor to print and mail correct replacement ballots as soon as possible. You will be assigned a new PIN number for electronic voting.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Rest assured that MM&P Officials and the Ballot Committee are taking the necessary steps to maintain the integrity of the voting process.

To vote electronically, go to and log in using the new PIN number on the printed ballot mailed to your address of record. To see the combined contents of the Shipping Rules & Work Rules ballot, including letter of explanation, voting instructions and ballot items, go to, enter the Members’ Only site and click on “Ballot Information” at the top of the left-hand column.


The Offshore Orientation Course will be held in Los Angeles at the MM&P LA/LB Hall on Nov. 13-14. If you are interested in participating in the course, please contact the Los Angeles/Long Beach Hall: 310-834-7201 or 310-834-6667 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.


This job, a nine-month tenure track position covered by a collective bargaining agreement, requires the successful candidate to work on the Ketchikan campus. A bachelor’s degree in Nautical Industrial Technology, Marine Transportation or related field is necessary (master’s degree preferred). Applicants should be USCG licensed as 1600T master or higher. At least one year of experience as Officer in Charge of Navigation Watch on a vessel over 500 GRT. Successful candidate must: provide administrative leadership in the continued development, implementation and expansion of the UAS Marine Transportation program; develop and deliver curricula for classroom, workshops, seminars, and web-based delivery of MT courses using appropriate methodologies and modalities; provide credit, non-credit and professional development training and technical assistance to MT related organizations, Federal and State regulatory agencies including the Alaska Marine Highway. For job description and application requirements, go to posting #0065235. Questions please contact Personnel at or The first review of applications will be Oct. 16. UAS is an AA/EO Employer and Educational Institution. 


The 2006 Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) entered into force on Aug. 20. It has been described as the fourth pillar of international shipping regulations along with SOLAS, MARPOL and STCW.  The International Labor Organization consolidated a number of previous conventions in MLC 2006. It establishes minimum standards on conditions of employment, accommodations, health and safety, medical care, crew welfare, recruitment, working conditions and social security protection. MLC will be strictly enforced during port state control inspections, including the potential for more detailed inspections and possible detention where hazardous conditions may exist if ships are not to be in compliance. Visit for more information or to register for the MLC course.


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

AB – Able Seaman: 10/14/13

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications  Systems Orientation: 11/21/13

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 10/29/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 12/16/13

BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/7/13

CHS-BAS – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/21/13

CONSTB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/27/14

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]


CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability:  10/28/13

CMM-ADVWX – 11/18/13

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 11/4/13

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 10/28/13, 12/16/13

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants:  10/21/13

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 10/7/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/21/13, 11/4/13, 12/2/13

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/30/13, 10/28/13, 11/11/13, 12/9/13

CMM-VPEN – 12/9/13

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 9/30/13, 12/16/13

CNAV – 9/30/13, 11/4/13

CONT PLNG – 11/5/13

ECDIS-ENAV – 10/1/13

ECDIS-OICNW – 10/14/13

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: EP – 10/30/13

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications:  1/8/14

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/7/13

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/17/14

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 12/2/13

HELO-FF – 10/8- 10/10/13

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross Ton License: 12/2/13

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 9/25/13, 10/8/13

MCL – Management, Communications and Leadership

MCL OICNW –Management, Communications, and Leadership OICNW level: 9/5/14, 10/7/14 MEDIA-RSP – Media Response Workshop:  11/6/13

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 10/14/13, 12/2/13

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/11/13

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/14/13, 10/28/13, 12/2/13

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/12/13, 10/19/13, 12/7/13

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification:  9/30/13, 11/11/13

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 9/30/13 PM

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/4/13

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/23/13, 10/28/13

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/2/13, 10/9/13, 10/16/13, 10/30/13, 11/13/13, 12/4/13, 12/11/13

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/21/13

SAR – 10/28/13

SEC-MSA – 10/17/13 PM, 11/12PM, 12/10/13 PM

SEC-VPDSD –10/18/13, 11/13/13, 12/11/13

SEC-VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 10/14/13, 11/6/13

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling:  10/7/13, 11/18/13

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/14/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/5/14

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/6/14

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge:  8/26/13

TTT – Train the Trainer: 4/7/14

WKP-BAS – 11/4/13

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 2/24/13

…And remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call.  Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

September 2013

19-21     Z-Drive/Tractor Tug Training
23-27     ECDIS

October 2013

1-2          Vessel Security Officer
7-11       Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18       GMDSS
14th       Radar Renewal
15-18     ARPA
21-25     Basic Construction and Stability
21-25     Medical Care Provider
21-1       Medical Person-in-Charge
23rd       RFPNW Assessments
28-1       Emergency Procedures/Search and Rescue
28-1       ECDIS

November 2013

4th         Med DOT
11th       Radar Renewal
11-22     GMDSS
18-20     Vessel Security Officer
18-22     ECDIS

December 2013

2-6          Tankerman Person-in-Charge
2-6          Medical Care Provider
2-13       Medical Person-in-Charge
2-13       GMDSS
9-13       ECDIS
11th       Med DOT

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2013, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at